Australian batting giant Steve Smith, with a splendid 131, was back among the big runs on the second day of the third Test against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). The knock was his 27th Test hundred and a record-equalling eighth against India.
The Australian middle-order batsman’s latest century at the SCG only reaffirmed his love affair with Sydney. In five innings since the start of the series against India (ODIs, T20Is and Tests combined), Steve Smith has amassed 410 runs at the venue which, incidentally, also happens to be his home ground.
In six innings at other venues (Canberra, Adelaide and Melbourne) during the series, he has tallied only 29 runs, including the 1 not out in the chase of 90 in the Adelaide Test.
Steve Smith kicked off the series against India with back-to-back hundreds in the first two ODIs in Sydney. Amazingly, Steve Smith reached his hundred both times off exactly 62 balls.
The 31-year-old ended up smashing 105 off 66 balls in the first one-dayer and 104 off 64 in the second. Australia won both the matches comprehensively, doing so by 66 and 51 runs, respectively. Steve Smith was named the Man of the Match in both games and also adjudged the Man of the Series.
In the two T20Is held in Sydney, Steve Smith contributed 46 off 38 and 24 off 23 before followed up with a majestic innings of 131 in the first innings of the ongoing SCG Test.
Is it a different Steve Smith when not playing at the SCG?
In contrast to his exploits across formats at the SCG in the ongoing series against India, Steve Smith has had massively underwhelming returns at other venues.
The middle-order batsman fell for seven in the third ODI in Canberra. In the first T20I at the same venue, the former Australian captain was dismissed for 12 by Yuzvendra Chahal.
Moving on to the Test matches, in the first Test in Adelaide, Steve Smith was caught in the slips for one off Ravichandran Ashwin in the first innings and remained not out on 1 as Australia chased down 90 runs to win the game.
He had a forgettable Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. Steve Smith was caught at leg-slip, off Ashwin again, this time before he got off the mark. In the second innings, he was bowled by Jasprit Bumrah for eight after he shuffled across the stumps ,and the ball proceeded to clip the bails.
Steve Smith and the SCG: A lethal combination against India
Steve Smith has featured in nine international matches against India in Sydney. In these games, he has amassed 731 runs at an average of 81.22, scoring five hundreds.
Apart from the three hundreds in the ongoing series, Steve Smith registered scores of 117 and 71 in the 2015 Test and 105 in the semi-final of the 2015 World Cup at the same venue.
Overall, Steve Smith has played 27 international matches at the SCG. He has scored 1661 runs in these games, doing so at an average of 63.88 with seven hundreds.
Apart from India, Steve Smith’s other two international hundreds at the SCG have come against England (115 in the 2014 Ashes Test) and New Zealand (164 in the December 2016 ODI).Published 09 Jan 2021, 00:30 IST